By Peter Thomson
We are sitting at a fascinating junction in the history of work. We still have the Industrial Age working practices that have been in existence for the last 200 years, running alongside the new Information Age work patterns. Organizations are still run as hierarchical command systems in a world of networked individuals and self-employed entrepreneurs.
It took many decades and several generations to make the last change of this magnitude. In the Industrial Revolution, work moved slowly from fields to factories and changed the face of society. Today we are in the middle of the Information Revolution, facing equally fundamental changes to the way we live and work. The difference is that the current revolution is bringing as much change in a decade as was spread over a century last time.
So we have twentieth-century working practices (with, in some cases, nineteenth-century management processes) lingering on in established companies whilst new enterprises are working very differently, enabled by technology. Some organizations have recognized that the world is changing around them and are trying to adapt, but many are continuing to operate as if nothing had happened. Those that do not embrace the changes are in danger of being left behind in the race to attract and retain the most effective workforce, and lose out to more productive competitors. Read more